Monday, May 12, 2014

My First WINGS Tour to SE Brazil This Coming November

I’m now in Peru, where I’m part of the Sunbird-WINGS team for the fourth Birding Rally Challenge, and I’ll be writing about that soon, but I can’t promise anything. We don’t actually begin the race until tomorrow morning, and I just might find the energy to post a photo a day if I’m lucky.

Until then, here are some photos that might encourage you to think about my upcoming WINGS tour to southeastern Brazil, scheduled for November 13-26. I posted a few of these photos last November during and just after my scouting trip there, but I never did get around to doing a full-fledged blog about it.

We start at Itatiaia National Park (I’ll be teaching everyone how to pronounce it), driving there from the São Paulo airport. Yellow-legged Thrush is surprisingly widespread in all the forests in this region, but it isn’t always so easy to see. Its song is one of the most haunting and characteristic sounds of the forest.

One road goes to rather high elevations where we should see the confiding Bay-chested Warbling-Finch.

Then we head to the forests of Tres Picos State Park near Rio De Janeiro for a rather different mix of birds. The lodge we stay at, Serra dos Tucanos, has some wonderful feeders with great hummers. These two are Brazilian Ruby and Black Jacobin.

This is my artsy photo of a Ruby-crowned Tanager, which may seemed well named based on this lucky shot, but in real life the bird rarely shows any red in the crown at all (and otherwise looks just like a White-lined Tanager).

The adorable White-throated Spadebill is a loud but inconspicuous bird of the understory in many of the areas we bird.

The higher elevation forests near Pico de Caledonia have the handsome Brassy-breasted Tanager.

This is where we’ll also probably see the amazing Diademed Tanager.

Driving a little further inland, the habitat dries out a bit, and Crested Black-Tyrant is a possibility along the roadsides.

A major target, for being rare, very localized, and a Brazilian endemic is the Three-toed Jacamar.

The plants in the SE Atlantic Rainforests are fabulous. Take this blooming bromeliad.

Or this stunning tree-like Tibouchina.

I have no idea what this flowering tree is, but I’ll find out some day.

There are a lot of pipeworts (Eriocaulon spp.) in Brazil, a distant relative of sedges and rushes.

This Carineta diardi cicada probably is responsible for ruining many of my bird recordings, but it has to be one of the most beautifully colored members of the family Cicadidae.

A lot of people have seen owl butterflies in the genus Caligo, but few have seen its caterpillar. The host plant is Heliconia (which is confusing since there is another genus of butterflies called Heliconius, but their caterpillars feed on Passiflora).

This butterfly is the satyr Pierella nereis.

I have excellent recordings of the song of this frog, but I don’t have a field guide or sound guide to this region and haven’t spent the time to figure it out. Maybe when I do, I’ll get the recording posted to a website.

But this Proceratophrys boiei, Boie's Frog was not hard to get a name for. It was amazingly cryptic on the forest floor. This was at Intervales State Park where we’ll finish our tour, in the southern highlands of São Paulo state.

This is also where I found this surprisingly cooperative Rusty-barred Owl (despite being so easy, I know better than to guarantee it on my next visit with tour participants).

And this Long-trained Nightjar was just down the road from our lovely hotel. And again, it was drop-dead easy this time, but I know birding groups have been rained out on the one night they had a chance. But we’ll look for it, and I’m really excited about returning to this fascinating area this coming November.

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